“The Live List:” Children’s Miracle Network spends the day with Jazz Gaming
Twelve-year-old Alex Homer turned to Jazz Gaming guard Shaka “Yeah I Compete” Browne and asked, “Isn’t it crazy?”
Alex was sitting in the lower bowl of Vivint Smart Home Arena, controller in hand, with his game of NBA 2K projected on the massive scoreboard. He was playing as the Utah Jazz in the game, in the home arena of the Utah Jazz, against a Jazz Gaming player.
“Just knowing what he’s been through and what gaming means to him, it was great to see,” said Browne. “His story truly inspired me and made me realize that there’s so much we take for granted in this world.”
Alex was one of five patients from Primary Children’s Hospital hosted by Jazz Gaming players at the team’s practice facility at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Aug. 19. Jazz Gaming partnered with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Extra Life to provide an interactive gaming experience for young patients and their families.
Alex was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect that impacts the ability to pump blood through the body. His unique situation required a total of four open heart surgeries – the first at just four days old – and was followed by a series of strokes when he was six years old. Alex waited 351 days for a heart transplant, and during that time and throughout recovery, playing video games became a bright spot.
Browne understands first-hand the positive impact gaming can have, as it’s taken him from his hometown of Mount Vernon, N.Y., to the Utah Jazz organization. Now, in his position with Jazz Gaming and the NBA 2K League, Browne is eager to give back.
“It’s really important that no matter where I am, I can be a role model and person kids can look up to,” said Browne. “Where I grew up in Mount Vernon, I didn’t have many people who were like that for me.”
Thirty surgeries and procedures later, Alex has made a “live list,” which details events and activities he’d like to pursue as a road map to living life to the fullest.
“Alex has been able to cross riding in a limo, visiting Hershey, Pennsylvania, and most recently playing NBA 2K with Jazz Gaming off of his live list,” said his mother, Brynn.
“We can’t wait to cross off more.”